Gino Bartali rode to glory for the second time in the Tour de France in 1948. However, Glory Ride focuses on the riders bravery during World War II, where he risked his life and used his privilege of being allowed out of the city to be able to ride in the mountains at night, to deliver documents that saved hundreds of Jewish children from persecution and death.
Based on the book by Victoria Buchholz and her father Todd Buchholz. Glory Ride is a new musical telling the story of Gino Bartali. The book was inspired after Victoria was inspired nine years ago while travelling to Tuscany and reading about him. She decided it was part of history that deserved to be brought to life.
Josh St Clair, in the role of Gino Bartali, looks every part of the athlete as he takes to the saddle on numerous occasions during the musical. His skill at manoeuvring the bike with a trailer attached to the smaller stage was impressive, and I dare say he needed some practice.
Bartali agrees to work with the resistance against the “black shirts” who have taken over the city to deliver false papers and doctored documents to Jewish people fleeing for their lives to the Swiss border. Cardinal Elia Dalla Costa (Niall Sheehy), together with Giorgio “Nico” Nissim (Daniel Robinson), protects the children, and Nissim sets to work on the documents.
The star of the night belongs to Amy Di Bartolomeo playing Adriana Bani. From the moment she began singing the hairs on the back of my neck raised, and I knew she was about to deliver an amazing performance, and she did throughout the musical. One of those voices I could listen to on repeat.
The new musical is not without its faults. I felt there were at times too many musical numbers, and sadly, some of these merged into each other. This could easily be rectified with some tweaks and editing, though.
Glory Ride is a fascinating story that even in today’s world, where the world is watching the war in Ukraine we can see the dangers faced by those fleeing for safety. I admire the risks and principles held by Bartali openly and knew the dangers he faced to give so many a chance to live.
For further information on this new musical and future productions at Charing Cross Theatre, please use the link below.
Photo credit Marc Brenner.